USCCB General Assembly: Committee elections preview

bconftobin CNA Bishops from across the United States take part in the USCCB's Fall General Assembly in Baltimore on November 11, 2013. | CNA

When the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop convenes next week, much of the attention with focus on how the bishops will address the recent clerical abuse scandals. But the bishops will also be electing new leadership for six of the conference committees.


The USCCB will gather in Baltimore for its general assembly Nov. 12-14. On the ballot will be candidates for the chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education, as well as the chairmen-elect of five other committees: Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations; Divine Worship; Domestic Justice and Human Development; Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth; and Migration.


The chairman-elect serves for one year shadowing the current chairman before assuming the role for a three-year term of office.


Conference members will also vote for a treasurer-elect for the USCCB. The office of treasurer manages the conference's funds and sits as vice-chairman on the Committee on Priorities and Plans.


The current treasurer is Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati. Candidates to succeed him are Bishop Gregory Parkes of St. Petersburg, Florida, who worked in the banking industry for several years before entering the seminary and being ordained, and Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis, who holds a bachelor's degree in accounting.


The current chairman for the Committee on Catholic Education is Bishop John Quinn of Winona. The committee seeks to guide the educational mission of the Catholic Church and advocates for public policies aligned with Catholic values.


The bishops nominated to follow him are Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland, who has served as the Director of the School of Pastoral Leadership in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, who has degrees in biology, theology, and canon law.


The Committee on Clergy is currently headed by Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark and produces and coordinates documents and resources for vocational promotion and discernment. The potential chairmen-elect are Bishop James Checchio of Metuchen, and Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth.


Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta is entering his final year as the head of the Committee for Divine Worship, which is responsible for matters related to Latin rite liturgy in the U.S. The candidates for chairman-elect are Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford, who has served on several conference committees, including those on evangelization and doctrine, and Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, who is a member of the Bishops' Advisory Council for the Institute for Priestly Formation.

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The Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, now led by Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, advises the U.S. bishops on national issues relating to human dignity, development, and poverty.


Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City and Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe have been nominated to succeed him. Wester has previously served as a member on the bishops' committee on migration.


Archbishop Charles Chaput is now in the final year of his term as chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, he will be replaced by either Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco or Bishop John Doerfler of Marquette.


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Cordileone has served on the Governing Board of the International Theological Institute, while Doerfler has previously led the Marriage Research Committee of the Canon Law Society of America.


The Committee on Migration is currently chaired by Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin. The committee seeks to provide awareness of and responses to the plight of immigrants, human trafficking, and refugees.


Washington, D.C. auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville-Rodriguez of Washington, who has served as the director of the Spanish Catholic Center in Washington, and Bishop John Stowe of Lexington are the candidates to succeed him.

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